European travellers turn off mobiles to avoid roaming charges: Survey

18 February 2014

Over a quarter of European visitors regularly turned off their mobile phones while travelling to avoid the risk of incurring roaming charges, according to research from the European Commission.

A survey of 28,000 people across the EU found 47 per cent of respondents also did not use mobile internet during travel.

European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes said the figures shocked her.

BBC quoted Kroes as saying, it showed the job needed to be finished and roaming charges eliminated.

She said it was not just a fight between holiday-makers and telecoms companies.

She added, consumers were limiting their phone use in extreme ways, and this made no sense for the companies either.

According to Kroes millions of businesses faced extra costs because of roaming, and companies like app makers lost revenue, too. She added, roaming made no sense in a single market, it was economic madness.

According to telecoms analyst, Matthew Howett who spoke to the BBC, he did not think the findings were that surprising. He added customers could come back to nasty bill shocks when they used their phone abroad.

According to The European Commission, frequent travellers were more likely to avoid mobile data than occasional travellers because they were more aware of the real costs of roaming.

Kroes' Connected Continent package has scrapping of roaming charges as one of the major proposed reforms.

Telecom operators too stand to lose due to users' aversion to roaming charges.

According to Syniverse, which provides technology and business services for the telecom industry, when overseas users spend around $17 billion globally per year on alternative means of accessing mobile data to avoid roaming fees.

The alternative means include hotel WiFi, other means of WiFi access, and purchasing local SIM cards.

 search domain-b